It’s fantastic that there’s tons of industry activity happening at the moment, but Pilot Season, or as I call it, PLANTING Season, brings it’s own challenges to the table. There’s temptation all around to lead us astray, away from the habits that add up to successfully building our careers.
In spite of (or possibly because of) the activity that abounds at the moment, it’s very easy to be led into the temptation of operating within the ‘auditioning or depressed’ cycle. Many are feeling way way up, and others are feeling way way down, and both perspectives are distracting and destructive.
As always, your challenge is to stay on point, resist the very real distractions of the moment, and not get caught up in the circumstantial hoopla that surrounds us all. This can be an especially tall order because things can seem either incredibly possible, or incredibly impossible, depending on where you are at. The promise of the reward we’ve been fighting for all year (or all decade perhaps) feels so close. We can taste it, and we can begin to give in to ‘finally, made it’. Relief.
Or, like a lonely, penniless person at Christmas, we can go in the opposite direction, we can feel opportunity slipping away or passing us by, leaving us out in the cold after all this hard work. We are piling up pressure on ourselves because we split with our agent, or we haven’t had our break yet, or casting was “seeing me constantly six months ago, and they haven’t seen me all year yet”, or, or, or…. the list goes on.
If that’s you: Stop that. Stay on point.
There is no relief; opportunity is not abandoning you.
Your job has not changed: Do everything you can to be available, prepared, painfully generous in your work, EVEN THOUGH YOU MAY NOT BE BROUGHT IN.
Be good to yourself. Stay focused on your long term, eat well, sleep well (said the man with two toddlers), foster positive relationships: with people, yourself, literature, film, & activities, be proactive, make time to replenish, make time to rehearse, make time to enjoy the labour, and repeat. Never buy the BS that your fear is selling you: ‘casting loves me!’ or ‘casting hates me!’. Neither is true. You are either a top of mind solution to the many issues they have right now, or you’re not.
If you are top of mind with them, work hard to continue to deserve it. Re-earn it constantly by bringing your best work generously every time. PLANT SEEDS for the coming year, get ready to GROW them. This is just the foundation.
If you are not top of mind with them, don’t give in to the ‘I’ll never be there’ voices, and don’t allow yourself to grow resentful or lead with a false sense of entitlement. That isn’t going to help. Suck it up. Deep breath. Relax. You have time to regroup, grow, focus, adjust your process, learn more about the industry, build out your plan. Truth is, if this is you, you have an opportunity: to be better prepared for the down time that is just around the corner. It will get quiet in a few months. There will be many actors out there who, having mis-managed the uptime of this moment, will find themselves in a funk during GROWING Season, and leave the opportunity for anyone who is prepared and conditioned to step up and fill a need. It happens every year – a massive “Post Pilot Depression get out of Dodge freak out”. If you’re not auditioning these days, you have the opportunity to be prepared for those times. Seize it.
This is a long term game we’re playing. Building a career takes both time and timing. The challenge is to stay focused, and not get drawn into the often painful distractions of the moment. The more you own your path, intention, and focus, the more likely it is that over time the timing will align.